A week of easy meals for £35

The big squeeze on families and soaring food prices has left most of us feeling the pinch. Make your money go further with our week of easy meals for £35.

Shopping basket filled with vegetables

These days it's very easy to feel overwhelmed with the cost of day-to-day living, but with a bit of creativity and careful planning you'll find you can still eat well, while sticking to a strict budget.

Everyday changes like getting creative with leftovers, visiting local food markets and cooking from scratch mean you will have the satisfaction of feeding your family on wholesome, seasonal food. But the key point always comes down to planning, because impulsive spending leaks money and waste. Oh, and never, ever shop when you're hungry.

Check out our week of easy meals for £35, and let us know how you get on:

Your shopping list:

Fruit & veg:
Large pack of fresh mint
2 onions
1 bunch spring onions
2 peppers
1 carrot
About 400g pack mixed stir-fry vegetables
Meat, fish & dairy:
50g pecorino or parmesan
200g tub half-fat crème fraîche
175g thinly sliced smoked ham
1 pack skin-on chicken thighs and drumsticks (4 of each)
125g pack garlic butter
175g cheddar or mozzarella
300g beef mince
400g frozen peas
140g frozen fine green beans
400g frozen coley or other white fish






Dry goods & bakery:
400g pasta shapes
500g basmati rice
400g can reduced-fat coconut milk
6 tbsp piri-piri marinade
500g pack ciabatta bread mix
2 x 400g cans plum tomatoes
120g sachet black bean sauce
3 nests medium egg noodles

Check your storecupboard for:

3 tbsp korma or mild curry paste
1 chicken stock cube
2 tbsp sunflower and 2 tsp sesame oil
4 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
2 tsp oregano
1 vegetable stock cube
5-6 slices bread, crusts removed (for 200g breadcrumbs)
4 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
3 tbsp ketchup
2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
3 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame seeds


Pasta with ham & minty pea pesto

Pasta with ham & minty pea pesto

A steaming bowl of pasta makes the perfect Monday night supper, and this recipe is low-fat to boot. Serve your choice of pasta with ham and homemade sauce made from salty Italian cheese and crème fraîche.

Pasta with ham & minty pea pesto

Creamy fish curry

Goan fish curry in a pan with rice
Whip up a curry in a hurry with this low-fat Goan-style mild dish with korma paste, coconut, green beans and sustainable coley.

Creamy fish curry

Piri-piri chicken with spicy rice

Piri-piri chicken with spicy rice
Use a lime-spiked spicy marinade to coat thighs and drumsticks then roast and serve with paprika rice in this healthy yet filling dish.

Piri-piri chicken with spicy rice

Tomato soup with tear & share cheesy bread

Tomato soup with tear & share cheesy bread
Comfort food doesn't get much better than a bowl of creamy homemade tomato soup and warm cheesy bread. This super-simple recipe will be on the table in under an hour too.

Tomato soup with tear & share cheesey bread

Black bean beef meatballs with stir-fried noodles

Black bean beef meatballs with noodles on a plate
Try out a new idea with beef mince, served in balls in a Chinese sauce with sweet chilli and five-spice powder – it's so much better than a takeaway.

Black bean beef meatballs with stir-fried noodles

This article was originally published in 2013 and was updated with new pricing on 3 December 2019.

Have you got any tips on how to eat on a budget? Leave a comment below...


Comments, questions and tips

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7th Dec, 2013
Only 5 evening meals not 7 that is a real week, and one of those is tomato soup ? Not a great "week" of easy meals Good Food. Disappointing.
5th Nov, 2013
My week has 7 days not 5 days but I like the look of the Goan Curry, though not sure my kids would eat most of this food


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